Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Can anyone explain why it is that you don't realize you forgot to rinse one armpit in the shower until you already have your underwear on and are looking for a shirt? Why can this discovery not be accomplished when you are squeegeeing off the shower, such that it is relatively easy to accomplish this annoying task?

Why is it that I occasionally diverge from my shower routine and completely forget to shampoo my head? There I'll be, drying off, when I come to the startling realization that I'm getting senile. Which leads to further confirmation of the diagnosis since I immediately start muttering to myself and cursing as I disrobe and get back in the shower.

While I am asking rhetorical questions, I would like to get an explanation (and slow motion video would be nice too) of how small rocks come to get under my foot while I'm wearing my sandals.

The last time I checked, the rocks were underneath my feet. I step down upon them. They spray outward from the impact, then somehow fly up and execute complex aerial maneuvers in order to wind up underneath my tender tootsies. What sort of rigorous pilot training must these things take in order to perform such feats of aerobatics? I would like to know.

I am also intrigued by the whole underwear thing. You'll pull a fresh pair out of the drawer and find them to be inside out. I get them all arranged, with the tag at the front, then I execute the flip maneuver, such that they become right side in. Out. Whatever. And the tag is now at the back now. I find this absolutely amazing to behold each morning. What an awe-inspiring way to start the day. This is the sort of magic that got David Copperfield started I am sure.

So! Thus refreshed by my insightful thoughts, feel free to begin your days activities. You are indeed welcome.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Learning to Fly

I am working on a series of columns about airplanes and learning to fly. Here is a sample...

So now you’re ready to fly. Turn on the ignition and pull the rope and lets get going! The big noisy thing up front will start to turn, so drive out to the runway and just go!

As you see yourself leaving the ground for the first time, you will experience a strange sensation. This sensation is called “Barfing” and is completely normal.

Once the heaves settle down, or you experience ‘emptiness’ as we pilots call it, you will notice that you are headed straight for the big trees of the end of the runway. Pull back on the stick, try to stop shrieking for just a moment, and show your student how the controls work together in harmony, side by side on the piano keyboard, oh lord why can't we? Nevermind.

Now we can see how all the buildings and farms really are the size of ants. If you have done some careful planning, you will notice the ant-like people down there really jump when the water balloon you dropped near them explodes in a great, big splash! This is lots of fun to do, if technically illegal, so limit your bombs to friendly neighbours who won’t fink to the police on you. Or fly so high they can't see who it is.

I learned to fly when I was much younger, back when I had time, money, thinness, hair, muscles and coordination. I grew up with a flying father who even owned an airplane for a while. It was great – we’d fly into remote fishing strips and denude the rivers of small inhabitants, then spend the next 4 days cutting brush and trees from the end of the runway so we could take off again without getting too many branches stuck in our wheels. We would usually just tell Mom about the fish.

When flying, Dad would bellow something vital about seat belts or engine fires or whatever from the pilot’s seat up front from time to time. I could never hear these commands since the wax in my crustacean tubes was making me deaf and brain-swollen, so I’d just merrily sit in the back seat, undoing screws or bolts on the aircraft, completely oblivious as to what was going on around me. Kind of like being at work come to think of it.

Now before you can become a pilot you have got to learn The Principles of Flight. These are, in no particular order: loft, drag, flops, gravity, thrust, parry, waddle, rudder and smoke.

Incidentally, Waddle, Rudder and Smoke is where my lawyer works.

To be continued...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cabin Cruising

To my enormous relief, there are some interesting places to go in our region. Literally.

For example, the wilderness cabin we recently stayed in had a composting toilet, a plumbing device with which I was not familiar.

We had chosen this specific cabin at the resort because it did indeed have an actual toilet.

This was a “No toilet means we’re going home kids, we don’t DO outhouses anymore” type of middle-aged female arrangement.

Upon arrival, we naturally made a bee-line to the bathroom for commode inspection.

You had to climb a little stair, and park yourself on what appeared to be (appropriately) a throne. Sitting there, you could survey one’s domain from a dizzyingly high perch, one which required calls for assistance if you happened to drop your reading material. Or toilet paper.

So here’s how it (the toilet) works, because I’m sure you are just dying to know: After going ‘big jobbies’ (as my kids call it), what you do is pour in a cup of granola or bark mulch or something, and crank a handle to ‘flush’. This rotates the, er, material, and mixes things up and saves the ecology and promotes world peace. Something like that.

Now I’m not easily impressed by toilet facilities let me tell you, unless it’s one of those Japanese ones that do a complete wash, wax, polish, trim and warm-air dry down there. Those babies impress me for sure.

This particular bog was impressive because there was no smell (from the toilet). None.

Given the rules of camping hygiene (Rule #1: Stink), we found there were more flies circling the occupants of the toilet than were circling the toilet itself. It was a wonder.

The only problem was the bathroom floor squeaked. Loudly.

The first night, having slept for a bladder-stretching several hours, I awoke to an urgent need. Not wanting to wake the family by squeaking into the throne room, impressive though it was, I tip toed quietly out onto the deck and stood at the upstairs railing in my underwear.

It was beautiful and silent there amongst the, er, morning woods. Taking careful aim (not really) I let fly, whizzing in a great arcing stream, up (heh), over and down into the shrubbery growing between our cabin and the one next door.

A noise louder than a hundred floor squeeks erupted. A thousand. The large leaves being rained upon sounded like cymbals crashing as they were drenched. The thunder evoked images of a herd of elk rampaging through the underbrush.

I heard disturbed mutterings from other cabins as I tried to ‘adjust fire’ and deaden the racket.

In fact, I could barely aim at all since by then I was covered with a thick, moving pelt of ravenous mosquitoes, relieving me of several units of blood while I, in turn, relieved myself of several units of pee.

Someone looking out of their window at that point would have seen a curious sight. A two storey, glistening arc of moonlit former beer, originating from a large, semi-naked man shivering from blood loss while at the same time shaking from, well, shaking. You know.

Flushed with relief and woozy from several gallons of mosquito-derived histamine coursing through my veins, I padded quietly (for some reason) back to bed, where I spent the next several hours swatting flies and rubbing my welt-covered body across the blessedly sharp teeth of the sleeping bag zipper.

Ahhhh nature.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fire Update and Things

As previously posted, I was on my deck when I spotted the first tendrils of smoke curling up from the Great Fire of 2009 - West Kelowna Edition.

I immediately turned on my sprinklers to help battle the blaze, but I'm afraid it got out of hand anyway. The fact that I'm situated across the lake from the blaze may have something to do with my lack of success.

I have relatives in from out of town so I had them line up with the evacuees and made them stay over in the local recreation centre for a few days. This creative solution to a small housing dilemma was the highlight of my week, and it helped the overseas visitors make some new friends. We got new toothbrushes out of the deal too - courtesy the Red Cross or Salvation Army or somebody. Sweet.

About 10 helicopters are 'working' the fire, and by 'working' I mean 'dropping buckets of Febreeze on the flames at citizen Crawford's request due to the smell.'

Hey - someone has to come up with the good ideas.

More later. Cheerio.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Forest Fire

Nothing funny here today I'm afraid.

We have a major forest fire happening in our city Saturday and today. I actually saw the first plumes of smoke - I was out on the deck trying to avoid some of the tasks assigned by my wife! These pictures are taken from my deck, looking west across the lake at the early stages of the fire.

About 10,000 people have been evacuated from across the lake - we'll be signing up to receive people that need a place to stay.

A few houses have been lost but thankfully no one has been hurt.

This harks back to 2003 when a major fire burned over 200 homes on this side of the water. My house stands on a site that was burned in that fire.

The smoke that I'm smelling now is not happy camp fire smoke. It stinks.

Sorry - sad day. No time for much more but I'll try and work on some happier stuff later.

Take care everyone.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Space Station!

I was up late last night with the kids, waiting for the International Space Station to fly overhead. The kids were tearing around on the front lawn with the neighbour kids, I was peering skyward, scanning.

It's a fun activity and one which will (I hope) instill a sense of wonder in my kids. Or a sense of complete futility at how small we are in the overall scheme of things so why bother? We'll see.

As the allotted time approached, my son and I set up our imaginary missile batteries and assorted anti-aircraft laser blasters, since our avowed intention was to shoot down the space station, shortly after saying "Wow - look at that."

We missed, thank goodness.

We did say "Wow" though when we saw it flying overhead.

Canadian on board too you know. Yay!!

Dear Julie Payette - Canadian astronaut.

Sorry we keep trying to shoot you down. It's just one of those things kids have to do. I don't think our imaginary laser blasters or missile launchers will ever reach you, but if they should we just want you to know we'll feel bad. We wouldn't blow you up or anything, we'd just try and burn our initials into the side of the capsule maybe. Hope you don't mind.


Your friends on the ground. Shooting at you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Farkles Go Camping!

To prove that we actually ventured out of doors and into the semi-wilderness, here are pictures to prove it! I always forget to post pics - so here you go.

First pic is of me and the kids at ramming speed, with Mom (picture taker) about to get hurled overboard by impact.

In our second photo we have The Family on the dock shortly before discovering weakened boards and coolish water temperature.

Not visible are the swarms of mosquitoes that later carried off one of the children.

Which on First?

So what goes on first when you are in the woods - sun screen or bug spray?

I went back and forth on this matter in a complete dither until the bugs just got bored and went home I think.

Actually, I wound up slathering my magnificent body in hand lotion by mistake. It worked but in round-about fashion. As the little critters were jabbing me with their tiny beaks, the heat from my sun-seared flesh would cause them to burst into flames. Now, instead of bites, I have tiny, raised welts from the small burns inflicted on my person. So that worked just fine, and I'm glad I thought of it.

Bug spray also works, except for the bits you miss. In this fashion I became light headed from blood loss as the skeeters zoomed into the small portion of my ankle that did not get fumigated properly. Word spread in the bug community, such that my ankle became like a drive-thru blood emporium.

Business must have been quite brisk. My swollen ankle now makes me look like I am wearing a watermelon for a slipper.


We went camping (well, cabin-ing) over the weekend, and I am just now getting released from the smoke inhalation ward. I also stink to high heaven. We had a ball!

We always enjoy suspending all personal hygiene activities when in the great outdoors, expecially when you realize the occupant has more flies circling around than the outhouse itself does.

I also lost count of the burning embers landing upon me and creating new holes in my clothing (and flesh) as I stirred the coals in manly fashion.

These and many other amusing topics will be thoroughly explored in upcoming columns.

For now though - shower!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Family Physician

Case #1 – Twin eight-year old patients (boy/girl) presented in overall good spirits but with numerous layers of dirt encrusted about their bodies, alarming smells, faces covered with crumbs and melted substance (preliminary identification: unauthorized chocolate of some form, possibly Fudgsicle, possibly chocolate cake – detailed lab report to follow).

Completed brief physical exam, interrogation and took complete history. Eyewitness account is patients were quietly drawing pictures when they fell in mud bog and happened upon chocolate cake.

Prescribed immediate bath, teeth brushing and bed rest. Medicinal smack administered to cute bare behinds as giggling patients scuttled to tub. Medicinal story reading on big Mom and Dad bed also prescribed. Complete recovery. Case closed.

Case #2 - Patient presented gushing red fluid from major artery. Other symptoms include odd noises and smells emanating from patients hind quarters. Patient is 12 year old, 4-door sedan with transmission thrombosis and other irregularities. Barely ambulatory, patient squirted fluid all way to ER clinic where emergency surgery commenced.

Discharge of patient expected today with a full recovery anticipated. Note: this patient is not covered by universal health care. A plea of poverty will be issued to attending emergency physicians, hoping for leniency. None anticipated. Case (hopefully) closed.

Case #3 - Patient presented with wet eyes and oozing, shallow knee trauma (lab identifies as ‘scrape’), approximately 1 inch in diameter (patient described injury as “My whole leg!”). Granulated road material present in wound, gently cleaned via water from squirt gun, soapy cloth, (formerly) clean towel. Cause of injury described as ‘riding bike with no hands.’ Patient counseled with questioning eyebrow, lesson learned with no post-traumatic lecturing required.

Amputation of limb considered, discussed. Patient insisted on Spiderman bandage in lieu of amputation. Pain medication declined by brave patient (bravery level 6/10 noted for record).

Bandaging of patient proceeded without incident, smile returning to face immediately upon application of sterile tissue to wet cheeks, kiss upon general region of wound. Physical therapy consisting of ‘Mario Cart’ racing using Wii instrumentation prescribed for one half hour per day for one week, no cheating or beating up sister. Case closed.

Case #4 - Patient presented experiencing considerable trauma in the head, neck and abdomen region. Symptoms included missing eye, partial disembowelment, fang marks, extreme wetness preliminarily identified as dog slobber (see lab toxicology report). Patient described as “Tiger” and “Favourite Stuffy” by traumatized relative of patient. Source of trauma described as canine discovering cheese substance from dinner table smeared over stuffy, with subsequent frenzied attack upon said stuffy by said canine. Law enforcement note: charges of ‘Bad Dog!’ pending.

Despite best efforts of ER team, patient succumbed to injuries. Distraught relative, who brought patient to ER in first place, dismisses death with a shrug and “Oh well” response and continues playing with remaining 67 stuffies in bedroom.

Patient returned to assailant via ‘corpse tossing’ technique and ‘pulling dog around slippery floor by her teeth’ technique. Case closed.

Case #5 – patient presented showing localized swelling in several areas of body. Preliminary diagnosis: skeeter bites.

Immediate immobilization upon couch prescribed, with attending physician administering small dose of medicine (Witch Hazel) (actually water poured into empty Witch Hazel bottle since supply was exhausted) via medicinal cotton ball. Immediate cessation of itchiness results. Patient confirms belief that attending physician is the best Doctor in the Whole Wide World.

Case closed via loud, smacky kisses.

Physician smiles. Just another day at the office.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ah yes - posting

Sorry I haven't posted for a while.

I have been trying to figure out why, when I miscount the stairs, I fall down or at least stumble.

I don't know why I always count the stairs anyway, but for idiotic reasons known only to my subconscious, I lose count. I'll go "3,4, 6 CRASH!" It is deeply embarrassing to not only lose count (not that I tell anyone), but fall up the stairs as well.

I think I'll establish a foundation to look into this phenomenon. We'll call it FUTS Syndrome - Falling Up The Stairs. Science will find an answer! To something!

You're right - I am tired, and so to bed.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Since I changed my layout the other day I've been unable to record analytics information - which I love! I think it's neat to see where visitors are from, how many people visit the site and so on.

I'm trying to fix the problem, but if you wouldn't mind, throw me an email if you've visited lately. Contact me at if you're so inclined - otherwise I don't know if you've been here or not. Hmmm - that didn't make much sense but you know what I mean.

Thanks again for reading.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


So Lucy is our dog. A ten year old Golden Retriever. She's been a great dog, wonderful with the kids, never a problem. Until lately.

Lately,perhaps because my wife is back at work full time, she has been acting up when we aren't around. She digs into garbage cans in the bathrooms and pulls out all the used (yuck!) kleenex and spits them out on the floor.

She has also been getting into food lately.

By that I mean swiping stuff off of plates, out of cupboards and so on.

By these methods she has consumed in the past month:

A number of brass BBQ brush bristles, the x-ray of which showed them in a nice ball being slowly transported through her system. We think they have passed, but did not find any evidence of them for sure. I don't want to go squishing through her poops to find out either. Can you imagine what it would feel like to poop out a bunch of brass brush bristles?? I mean - can you? Sheesh - I'm shakin all over just thinking about it...

She has also eaten 4 hamburger buns (with butter) which were on a plate on the counter, ready for me to finish cooking the burgers.

Tonight she ate the better part of 2 Ivory soap bars. The big ones from Costco too. Hmmm - this should make for an interesting barf later tonight I figure. Or an equally interesting poo tomorrow. I'll let you know. Maybe I'll take pictures!!

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Couple Therapy

Our kids were both out of the house on sleepovers, so my wife and I did what any other healthy, normal couple would do under such circumstances. We went for a nice dinner, a beautiful stroll along the beach, and then we went home and enjoyed some wild, unprotected swearing.

You can only go so long without a little profanity. It was great. We cursed and yelled with complete abandon.

It was invigorating and wonderful in all respects.

Having kids around all the time makes it easy to lose touch with your bad words. It’s hard to make time in your day for just you and your spouse, and your salty vocabulary. It’s important you reserve some good fulmination time for each other.

We couldn’t help ourselves and got started swearing right there in the van after our walk because we never get to in front of the kids. When we got home we carried on like teenagers, doing ‘it’ on the stairs, in the kitchen, the living room, and of course, our bedroom. Bathroom too.

We used some of the verbs and nouns and adjectives we learned before we were married. We even referred to some books and the Scrabble game to, you know, spice things up a little.

Logging into the internet, we watched a few of ‘those’ types of videos. Yeah - George Carlin. Chris Rock. It was wild.

We held nothing back from each other.

We became as one.

Our pleasure was all the more invigorating in that we did ‘it’ really loudly. With no kids to disturb we went a little crazy. I remember yelling up the stairs “HONEY DID YOU LET THE *$%#@!% DOG OUT?” It felt so…free.

We even had a few drinks to sort of lubricate things.

No need to ‘do it’ behind closed doors or in hushed whispers. No hints or semi-spelled out words like we usually do in front of the kids. This was pure, wild foul-mouthing of the best sort.

We deliberately stubbed our toes and jumped around, cursing. No words barred. We cussed and yelled until we were spent. Then we lay back, exhausted, smiles on our faces, sated.

I’m sure a psychologist would say that a good swear session does wonders for one’s health. What couples need is some good, down to earth ear-burning, awe-inspiring, incredible-word-combination cussing to clear out the cobwebs. Avoiding the curse words you would LIKE to use about neighbours, co-workers and bosses is too stressful.

Oh sure, the occasional road rage episode is helpful, as is muttering imprecations at the drive-through when they mess up your order, but these are ultimately hollow and unfulfilling.

So unlock your inner self and unleash your most colourful cusses! Be free! Get rid of the kids and let fly. It works! It feels good! It’s probably good for the economy!

If cursing doesn’t work, have some cookie-dough ice cream. That’s another good stress reliever.

Growing Pains

I’ve been meaning to log some of the old growth weeds out in the side yard, and being male I welcome any excuse to fire up the chain saw.

I also haven’t seen the kids for a few days, and their machetes are missing, so I figure I better go have a look.

Which brings me to the actual topic of today’s column – “Failure to Thrive,” or “Gardening” as some people call it.

All weed evidence to the contrary, I find myself growing rather fond of the pastime. I’m also rather fond of my kidneys and the intriguing mole between my toes too mind you, but this is different somehow. I can actually see a long term relationship growing here (ha!) and I have some control over it, so I enjoy it. I have not yet been able to grow another kidney.

I’m also not at the stage where I know the Latin names for everything (well, anything) yet. The people who can do that (Obnoxium insufferabilia) have also been known to snort pure, uncut Miracle-Gro up their noses, so you have to be careful about who you garden with.

I just think its fun planting stuff and tending it, and by “tending” I mean “squirting water onto its general region.”

For some reason, my wife believes watering constitutes ‘Yard Work’ so I am not about to disabuse her of this notion any time soon. Watering is what I do. Gentlemen take note.

Watering is also good in that I get to practice my aerial gunnery on flying moths and other insects, who rarely know what hits them as I dive out of the sun, water guns blazing, engine shrieking as my Battle of Britain Squirtfire claims yet another victory!

Yes. Well…

There have been other moments of joy scattered amongst my many hours of bewilderment out there.

For example, the other day I was once again staring down at the Alien Infestation thing (Buttuglia thinkitsaweeden) and noticed for the first time that it was actually kind of pretty.

The Alien Infestation is an odd looking plant with tentacles and scales and it is really quite hideous. It looks like what might burst out of your chest after you’ve been impregnated by something obviously not of this world.

Every time I approach it with malice aforethought, my wife intercepts me and assures me that it is, in fact, a plant and not some disgusting Weed From Beyond.

She then replaces my hat (removed for a good Scratch and Ponder), steers me gently towards the overgrown side yard, and watches me mutter my way towards the day’s weed harvest.

Then there were some seeds the kids and I planted. We bought little envelopes (Packetphotoshoppia notactualsizeums yourresultsmayvaryens), actually read the instructions on the side, and did as we were told for a change.

The little pots were watered daily for many, many, many weeks.

We finally decided growthing or spurting or whatever was not going to happen, so we tilled the little cups of soil and seeds into the dirt beside one of the pathways in the yard. Where of course a single plant emerged, looking rather feisty, branches on hips, as if to say “Why didn’t you plant me here in the first place, Bozo?”

Lately though, despite all of my attention to this plant, it is thriving. Which I find quite annoying since I haven’t a clue what I am doing to produce such a result.

Now that I think about it, this perpetual state of cluelessness is reminding me too much of my real job. I may have to change occupations.